The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS...hands down (in my humble opinion) the ultimate (silent) Steampunk movie!

It has EVERYTHING!  Aristocracy! Minions! Mad Scientist! Robot! Cogs and Gears!  Massive machinery and steam explosions!  There are several butchered versions/attempted restorations around... the most controversial being a 1984 restoration with soundtrack produced by Giorgio Moroder (rock producer/promoter)  using contemporary rock bands/stars QUEEN (Freddy Mercury~"Love Kills"), Pat Benetar, Bonnie Tyler, Adam Ant amongst others).  The "love it/hate it" camps were evenly divided... but I digress)..... a NEW RESTORATION (2010)  has almost doubled the length of the butchered versions  New footage was found in Argentina (Germany hid a LOT of things in Argentina during WW II.)  The major underlying theme is capitalism vs unionization expressed in SF ala mode and the visuals are aMAAAAAAAAAAAzing... complete with Teslacoils in the robot transformation!   SOOOOOOOOOO many landmarks in this German expressionist film.  So many silent movies have bits and pieces of Steampunk... this movie has the absolute essence of the genre (with a touch of schmaltz and nudity thrown in for good measure)....

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I love this movie too. Though I have not seen this redubbed version of the 80's that you mention. Sounds interesting. Another brilliant film by Fritz Lang is 'Frau Im Monde' Now this one was actually added to the black list because this movie was quite accurate with rocket science of the period and Hitler and his entourage feared that it could give away their little military toys. Like Metropolis its an absolutely fabulous silent movie, one I am wanting to add next to my copy of Metropolis up there in my personal dvd library. Ingenius pieces of cinema these films and just adds to the brass list of steampunk capers :D
I had the oppurtunity to see the 75th anniversary 2001 restoration. In Baltimore it was shown at the Historic Senator theatre (1930's moviehouse). That was the perfect place to see it! At that point the missing spots were filled with a brief typed screen explaining what they thought was missing. This is great that they found more of it!!
I agree, it really is a great film for Steampunk enthusiasts!
My local Society had a showing of it recently - we have a monthly silent film night with a live pianist accompanying the films. We used the 1984 version with the sound turned off so the pianist could play.
: )
Some of the other films we have recently viewed can be found here:

And photos from our film nights here:

Looking forward to seeing the new restoration!!!
I have a copy of the original and a copy of the 1984 re-release.  I really like the 1984 version because of the music.  The movie itself is one of my favorites.
I have yet to have an opportunity to see the restored version but I have always thought that most silent films could benefit from having the dialogue breakaways replaced with modern subtitles. Silent movies always seem long to me and cutting away from the action to display dialogue seems to make them even longer.

That follows from the argument that cyberpunk didn't exist before Gardner Dozios invented the term in 1980, steampunk didn't exist before J. W. Jeter invented the term in 1987 and science fiction didn't exist before Hugo Gernsback invented the term in 1926.


I do not hold with that characterization. Those are descriptive terms of types of fiction. So long as they fit those descriptions, they earn the name even if that fiction exists before the invention of the descriptive term.



spot on m8 !

A label for the box.  You are quite correct Zebulon...Quite correct. :}

Friedrich Murnau's 'Nosferatu' is pretty good too...Werner Herzog did a beautiful remake  in the late 7t's with Klaus Kinski ..& if ya like 'KrautRock' the soundtrack is really good , but is it 'SteamPunk'..??

who cares BrotherMan ~

Although I agree with you sir that this is a great silent movie I would say it is not truly Steampunk. The art style is totally Art Deco which places it in the late 1920 on ward. And as such it falls into a more Diesel Punk. But who is to say that Steampunk did not grow up to be diesel punk... Oh wait it did!

With that said yes it does indeed have all the proper elements one could hope for.

steam-punk is part of 'retro-futurism' school of thought..when Metropolis was made, both hands were on the future, not  one hand in the past.

dressing up is all very well, but why does every one want 'clock-work' goggles...??

Yes but our retro-futurism lives in the vision of the future created by artists such as Fritz Lange, Jules Verne, Wells, et. al.  None were Steampunk per se but all have been influential on the genre. 


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